Climbing Mt St Helens early May

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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dhaval257
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Joined: June 27th, 2016, 11:39 am

Climbing Mt St Helens early May

Post by dhaval257 » March 28th, 2019, 12:05 pm

Hi,

We are planning to climb Mt St Helens summit early May this season.
Anyone has idea on snow conditions then ?

What kind of footwear should be used ? Hikings shoes ? Boots? crampons?

Thanks

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Water
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Re: Climbing Mt St Helens early May

Post by Water » March 29th, 2019, 8:41 am

snow starting around treeline perhaps, maybe lower.

the climbers bivouac route won't yet be open in all likelihood. You'll start at 'Marble Mountain Snopark' and take the winter route 'swift' up until it joints monitor ridge higher on the mountain. It'll be a mix of melted rocks you're clambering over and through, and snowy sections, especially higher up.

Boots of some sort, yes, preferably waterproof/resistant as you will be walking in wet snow, especially on the way down. Crampons if you know how to use them, have the footwear that is compatible with them, and will be going early in the morning when the likelihood of very firm conditions is higher.

If crampons are beyond your usual comfort zone, look to Microspikes as they're very good and are compatible with almost all footwear and generally on helens give the necessary traction. Under most spring conditions you'll be following a very hearty bootpack with good steps put in, so microspikes will give enough traction.
Feel Free to Feel Free

johnspeth
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Re: Climbing Mt St Helens early May

Post by johnspeth » April 6th, 2019, 7:49 am

dhaval257 wrote:
March 28th, 2019, 12:05 pm
We are planning to climb Mt St Helens summit early May this season.
What kind of footwear should be used ? Hikings shoes ? Boots? crampons?
Skis!!

dhaval257
Posts: 18
Joined: June 27th, 2016, 11:39 am

Re: Climbing Mt St Helens early May

Post by dhaval257 » April 15th, 2019, 10:44 am

Microspikes sounds like a good idea. I have been talking to few people, they mentioned, we might be end up needing snowshoes. What's your take on that?

Thanks again

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Chip Down
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Re: Climbing Mt St Helens early May

Post by Chip Down » April 15th, 2019, 8:49 pm

dhaval257 wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 10:44 am
Microspikes sounds like a good idea. I have been talking to few people, they mentioned, we might be end up needing snowshoes. What's your take on that?

Thanks again
That's an immensely popular mountain. If you're on std route, I can't imagine needing snowshoes. Of course, it's still early enough in the season that you could get new snow a few days before your trip, and that changes everything.

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kepPNW
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Re: Climbing Mt St Helens early May

Post by kepPNW » April 16th, 2019, 10:12 am

Chip Down wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 8:49 pm
dhaval257 wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 10:44 am
Microspikes sounds like a good idea. I have been talking to few people, they mentioned, we might be end up needing snowshoes. What's your take on that?
That's an immensely popular mountain. If you're on std route, I can't imagine needing snowshoes. Of course, it's still early enough in the season that you could get new snow a few days before your trip, and that changes everything.
Last year, I was quite happy to have my snowshoes along the last week of April, to avoid postholing for the final two or three miles on the way out.



Just a beautiful day up there! 69° on the rim, if I recall correctly. Nothing but standard spikes going up. But man, it can get irritating coming down!

This year, the snow pack is about 50% less, so... I'd at least be thinking about hauling them along on an even semi-warmish day in early May, but hearing what people found the day or two earlier would guide the decision.
Karl
Back on the trail, again...

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Chip Down
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Re: Climbing Mt St Helens early May

Post by Chip Down » April 17th, 2019, 7:28 pm

Karl, I don't see any evidence your companions are displaying permits. I hope they were on your pack.

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kepPNW
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Re: Climbing Mt St Helens early May

Post by kepPNW » April 25th, 2019, 6:33 am

Chip Down wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 7:28 pm
Karl, I don't see any evidence your companions are displaying permits. I hope they were on your pack.
Must've blown right off their packs, huh? 8-)
dhaval257 wrote:
March 28th, 2019, 12:05 pm
We are planning to climb Mt St Helens summit early May this season.
Anyone has idea on snow conditions then ?

What kind of footwear should be used ? Hikings shoes ? Boots? crampons?
Was up there yesterday. You'll appreciate WP boots, yep. I used "trail crampons," and my companion had microspikes, from the monitoring station (~5600') on up. Not a whole lot of bite, though... The snow is extremely soft right now! Being an absolutely effing glorious day, we seemed to have hung out on the rim for a few hours, and didn't start the descent until sometime after 4pm. Sinking to the shins was the norm, sometimes to the knees. Down around the worms, it is a bit dangerous right now! The interface between hot rocks and cold snow is full of holes, many unseen until you step into them. Postholing to the crotch in those leg-breakers happens. Not really saying snowshoes are necessary -- we survived -- but some flotation on the way down may be appreciated. I think the terrible sinky snow slowed us down considerably.
Karl
Back on the trail, again...

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johnspeth
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Re: Climbing Mt St Helens early May

Post by johnspeth » April 25th, 2019, 7:39 am

kepPNW wrote:
April 25th, 2019, 6:33 am
Was up there yesterday.
How much of the trail from tree line to the parking lot was snow covered?

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kepPNW
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Re: Climbing Mt St Helens early May

Post by kepPNW » April 25th, 2019, 8:15 am

johnspeth wrote:
April 25th, 2019, 7:39 am
kepPNW wrote:
April 25th, 2019, 6:33 am
Was up there yesterday.
How much of the trail from tree line to the parking lot was snow covered?
All but the last 1/2-mile or so, where it was still a bit patchy.
Karl
Back on the trail, again...

(Photos · PortlandHikers)

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